279. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Belgium1

669. We are anxious receive on most urgent basis authoritative Belgian (Spaak if possible) appraisal extent of present and future danger to foreign community Stanleyville and degree to which this likely be affected by air strikes and other military actions against rebel positions both inside and outside urban areas. We are of course deeply concerned re public rebel reprisal threats directed primarily against Americans and would be grateful for Belgian assessment re reasons for singling out US. You should also endeavor ascertain whether Belgians have any plans or thoughts re measures which could be taken (beyond current ICRC efforts) to improve security foreign community in Stan, including their protection against reprisals. You should also utilize occasion ascertain whether Belgians in position either overtly or covertly to assist in protecting American lives and whether they have any assets, official or private, which we could utilize for this purpose.

In raising this matter, you should feel free to draw on messages from Leo and Bujumbura which indicate increasingly strident tone of rebel threats against US and to lesser extent other foreign hostages (see particularly FBIS 62 of 7 October “Olenga Telegram” being sent septel).2 You should also make clear our deepening concern re situation foreigners Stanleyville and dilemma that would be posed for us both if rebels were to carry out reprisals against US and Belgian nationals under their control.

Request reply soonest.3

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Secret; Immediate; Limdis. Drafted by Palmer, cleared by Williams and McKillop, and approved by Palmer. Repeated to Leopoldville.
  2. See Document 278.
  3. Telegram 675 to Brussels, October 8, asked the Embassy to advise urgently whether appropriate Belgian officials (including Davignon and Rothschild) would be available to discuss the Congo with Fredericks and INR/RAF Director Robert Good in Brussels on October 13 and 14. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO)